There comes a time in life when the receipt of a wedding invitation brings an expectation along with an RSVP card. The only real rule is that once two people declare their "couple" status—by marrying, getting engaged, or moving in together—they should be invited together. For the rest, it's up to the bride and groom to determine a fair "cut-off point." But to an invitee that is not actually part of a couple, a "plus one" can feel like a nice gesture that goes without saying: Once a certain proverbial age is reached, one hopes to be invited to a wedding with a date. It's an olive branch, a knowing wink from the couple that says, "Don't you worry, we've got you." But, when said courtesy is not extended, and the envelope lacks the words "and guest" (again, it's not an obligation, and weddings do have budgets!), the following are the states of mind that friends/family members will go through.
I know no one at this wedding.
This is a daunting thought because the only person you know at this wedding is the bride herself, and we all know the bride isn't exactly going to be able to hang out with you. What if you're the only single person there? What happens when a slow song comes on and your table leaves you alone? Are you expected to go up to random groups and start dancing? Maybe you should just hide in the bathroom or hang out in the kitchen with the wait staff.
Oh, the logistics of it all.
So you don't drive (hello, you live in a city after all), and this wedding destination requires planes, trains, and automobiles to get there, which just seems so daunting. Why should you fly to a non-English speaking country at the drop of a hat, then have to figure out a way to get yourself around? Getting to this wedding is starting to seem like an impossible feat.
I might as well just hit the bottle.
Suddenly those signature cocktails are looking quite good. Maybe if you down a few extra, you'll be immune to this whole night and you'll wake up tomorrow and it'll all have been a bad dream. Hmm, alcohol is a depressant, though, and anything that will make you feel sorrier for yourself right now probably isn't a good idea. Hopefully the reception is buffet-style, so at least you can loiter around the food tables instead of sitting at the table alone—even if you look a little creepy.
Maybe there will be some eligible bachelors?
If ever there was a time to test your flirting skills, it's now. You are at the same event, so you automatically have at least one person in common. Bam! Automatic icebreaker. Why didn't the bride ever mention she knew strapping gents before?